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November 12th, 2009

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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Former Iowa Lt. Governor Joy Corning has inserted herself right into the middle of the Republican primary for governor. Corning served as Iowa’s Lt. Governor under Terry Branstad during the final two terms of his administration. Corning, a supporter of abortion rights and homosexual marriage, recently recorded an auto-call for One Iowa, a gay marriage group that received thousands of dollars from a gay Des Moines couple who defrauded Aviva USA of nearly six million dollars.

Corning’s auto calls for One Iowa were sent to Republicans who live in Black Hawk County earlier this week. learned about the calls on Tuesday night and contacted Carolyn Jenison, the Executive Director of One Iowa, to confirm that the Corning calls took place. Jenisen didn’t respond. Instead, a few hours after we contacted One Iowa, Des Moines Register reporter Jason Clayworth, who, until recently, belonged to a Facebook group supporting the Iowa Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, broke the story about Corning and One Iowa.

The following is the script of Corning’s call.

Hi this is former Lt. Governor Joy Corning.

Iowa has a well-deserved reputation of being open minded and fair. That’s why I’m a supporter of One Iowa. Our Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of civil marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples, continuing Iowa’s tradition of protecting the civil rights of all Iowans.

Please join with me to ensure that Iowa continues to move forward as a leader in fairness and equality.

While the call has ignited a political powder keg that former governor and current gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad must now handle, the call itself is strange in that it doesn’t even ask people to attend the upcoming December 3rd Waterloo Marriage Equality Public Forum that is being put on by One Iowa. Instead, the call, which only targeted Republicans, seems to be politically motivated.

By having Lt. Governor Corning make the automated calls, One Iowa has been able to enter the political conversation once again and drive attention to their issue and the events that they are hosting around the state. Additionally, Corning’s call might have also been orchestrated by gay activists and liberal Democrats to lessen the chance that Branstad will win the Republican nomination for governor.

Either way, it is odd for a woman who has publicly stated that she supports Branstad to do something that would cause him and his campaign so much grief. It makes one wonder if Corning isn’t being honest about her support of Branstad or if groups like One Iowa and other liberal Democrats are taking advantage of the 77 year-old former Lt. Governor in hopes to advance their own political agenda.

Bob Vander Plaats and the Iowa Family Policy Center were quick to comment about the Corning situation. In a press release sent out by his campaign, Vander Plaats said, “The timing of Corning’s call is too obvious to overlook. Terry Branstad enters the governor’s race on Saturday night without stating where he truly stands on the issue, and on Tuesday night, his lieutenant governor does an automated call urging Iowans to support same-sex marriages.”

“If you listened closely to his speech on Saturday night, Terry Branstad did not say he supports one-man, one-woman marriage. He said he would break the legislative logjam that is preventing a referendum by Iowans. That’s not the same thing. If he wants to break the road block, he should join me by committing to sign an executive order banning additional same-sex marriages on day one in office until Iowans have a right to vote on the issue,” Vander Plaats added.

Chuck Hurley, the President of Iowa Family Policy Center ACTION said, “[Corning] would never have become Lt. Governor without the electoral support of tens of thousands of Christians and conservatives, and we have no one to blame for this but ourselves.” He went on to say, “Joy Corning has given us another clear example of just exactly why as Christians and conservatives we should no longer sacrifice our convictions for perceived political victories. When we elect people like Joy Corning, we elevate and advance the destruction of the family.”

The Branstad campaign now finds itself in the midst of mess that it didn’t create. Now more than ever, Governor Branstad and his campaign must address the issue of gay marriage head-on. What’s may be more important is that he also has to comment on Corning’s recent actions and distance himself from her radical beliefs.

The best thing Branstad could do is get out on the road and talk to Iowa Republicans about his vision for Iowa. The reason why his recent lackluster speech and Joy Corning’s auto calls drive so much news coverage is because there is nothing else significant to report from the Branstad campaign. For the first month of his campaign, Branstad himself and a few of his friends have been his own worst enemies.
branstad at rpi

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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